Ryan Shazier NFL Stats
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Ryan Shazier NFL Game Log
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(Compared to other LBs)
Pittsburgh Steelers Team Injury Report
Perhaps the most athletic defender in the NFL, Shazier brings sub-4.4 speed on a 230-pound frame, but durability issues undermined him for the third year in a row in 2016, limiting him to 771 snaps in 13 games. In last year's case it was a knee injury that caused the missed time, and prior to that he missed time with ankle, shoulder and other knee troubles. If he could just stay healthy, he would have top-tier LB1 upside. Seven sacks in his last 25 games show Shazier is a dangerous blitzer, and four interceptions over that same span say more turnovers should be on the way.
Shazier is the greatest injury risk on the list so far, but his upside is the sort that can swing championships in IDP leagues. It's likely true that Shazier is both the most athletic starting linebacker in the NFL as well as the one with the greatest combined upside for tackle and sack production. Limited to 667 snaps by a knee injury, Shazier finished 2015 with 87 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one interception. If you project those numbers over 1,100 snaps – a reasonable projection if Shazier plays 16 games – you'd get 143 tackles and 5.5 sacks. He has missed 11 games in two NFL seasons.
The Steelers had high expectations for Shazier when they selected him 15th overall last year, but nagging injuries wrecked his rookie season. An ankle sprain and a sprained MCL limited him to 258 snaps in nine games, and his stats were predictably disappointing. Still, Shazier is the most athletic linebacker in the league, possessing sub-4.4 speed and excellent blitzing skills. The Steelers wouldn't have picked Shazier so high if they didn't plan to make him a three-down player, so it's likely just a matter of time before he explodes.
Although Shazier is only a rookie, there are many reasons to think he'll make a big IDP impact in his first season in Pittsburgh. First, the Steelers didn't take him 15th overall to bring him along slowly – Shazier should play almost all of Pittsburgh's defensive snaps in 2014. Second, he has a remarkable combination of size and athleticism, boasting 4.4 speed at 6-1, 237-pounds. Third, he was incredibly productive at Ohio State, registering 258 tackles (40.5 for a loss), 12 sacks and seven forced fumbles in his final 26 games with the Buckeyes. The Steelers like to blitz their inside middle linebackers, and Shazier looks like one of the best. He might put up Daryl Washington-like numbers early on in his career.